Superior (Class of 1980)
When Rick Meyer spins around, the discus usually sails a long way. By the time he was named the Hastings Tribune’s Prep Athlete of the Year in 1980, Meyer had already embarked on a record-setting career. The first Nebraska prepster to eclipse the 190-foot mark, Meyer won the all-class gold medal as a junior and the Class B gold medal as a senior. Also all-area in football and basketball, Meyer accepted a track scholarship to the University of Houston where he was a three-time Southwest Conference champion, a five-time All-American (twice in the shot put) and the NCAA champion in 1985 and runner-up in 1983. His senior year he set the NCAA meet record of 209-10. Ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for nine years, Meyer placed fifth in the Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986 and was an alternate for the Olympics in 1992. His younger brother, Andy, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Wayne (Class of 1963)
Don Meyer made his mark nationally as a successful and legendary college basketball coach, setting a record with 923 wins at Hamline (MN) University, Lipscomb (TN) University and Northern State (SD), but his playing accomplishments can’t be overlooked. The only player at Wayne High School to have his jersey retired, Meyer averaged 20 points per game as a junior and 26.5 points per game as a senior for teams that were a combined 32-5. He also starred as a pitcher on Wayne’s first high school team and its American Legion team. At the University of Northern Colorado, Meyer was a four-year starter in basketball, leading the Bears in scoring his junior and senior seasons. He also went 22-2 as a pitcher on the UNC baseball team that nearly qualified for the College World Series. He has been inducted into Wayne High School, Northern Colorado and the NAIA Halls of Fame, and is the subject of the movie, My Many Sons.
Sidney (Class of 1952)
Jon McWilliams was noted for his speed. Labeled “Greased Lighting” after a three-touchdown performance against Oshkosh, the Sidney senior sprinted to Class B all-state honors in football and the 120-yard high hurdles silver medal at the state track meet, helping his team win the state title. McWilliams, who lettered all four years in high school in all three sports, was also a mainstay on the basketball team. Selected as Western Nebraska’s Football MVP by the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, McWilliams went on to earn All-Big Seven honors at Nebraska after being switched to end. One of the first black players of the modern era, McWilliams was a three-year letterman in football and ran track for the Huskers. He played one year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.
Athlete–Nobody ever looked better on the basketball courts around Omaha North High School than this 1977 graduate. A high-scoring ace from his sophomore days onward, by the time of his senior year he was averaging right at 40 points per game. Three times in high school, he scored 50 or more points in one game. His 916 one-season points and 38.17 per game average rank second in the all-time state high school standings. The only games North High lost in his junior and senior years were those when the prolific McGee fouled out.
Following a great college stint at the University of Michigan, he played professional basketball for nearly a decade, including two years with the championship Los Angeles Lakers.
Long-time Omaha observers say none was tougher to defeat on the hardwood than a healthy Mike McGee.
Charlie Moore’s 51-year coaching career, the majority of which was at Fairbury, included state championships in basketball and track. Moore started his coaching career at Snyder, then after one year, moved to Butte for three years where he coached football, basketball and track. He moved to Fairbury in 1967, forging a basketball powerhouse. The Jeffs won state championships in 1971, ’73 and ’78 and finished runner-up in 1983. His 30-year basketball coaching career, 26 as a boys coach and four years as a girls coach, resulted in 367 wins and 276 losses. He coached track throughout all 45 years of his career, 31 years as a girls coach and 14 years as a boys coach, and resulted in the 1988 state championship and the 1989 state runner-up trophy. He also coached wrestling for three years, leading Fairbury to a 12-0 dual record in 1968-69, and he was head football coach for four years.
Coach. The small town of Ansley can take pride in the number of fine athletes developed here near the edge of the great Nebraska Sand Hills. This is no accident, for they have been fortunate to have high school coaches of the caliber of Dan Moore. His thirty-four years of coaching were divided, four early years at Overton and then the last 30 helping the boys and girls of Ansley High School compete with the best of their class in a variety of sports. He has a football record of 255-83-2. Under his command, and his nickname is “Captain,” the Ansley boys won two state championships on the gridiron and nine times state runner-up in their class. In boys track, his teams were twice state track champions. While doing double-duty as track coach for the girls over nearly 20 years, the Ansley girls were state runner-up three times. There was no time off in the winter though, because he spent that time assisting in basketball.
Following Courtesy of Grand Island Independent, 2000
Although Ansley football coach Dan Moore’s stellar career has come to an end, the awards for his numerous accomplishments haven’t.
This fall, Moore will be among the 20 inductees into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. Also, on May 21, the retiring coach will be honored in Ansley with Dan Moore Day.
Moore is modest about his accomplishments over his 28 year career, which began at Overton and ended last fall with his final season with the Warriors.
“I’ve had good kids up here and stuck around a long time,” he said.
He has led his teams to two football state championships and nine runner-up finishes while compiling a 255-84-2 record. He has coached 22 all-state players. Moore has also coached two boys state championship and one runner up teams. He has led three girls track state runner-ups, had had 23 state track meet individual champions.
Moore is quick to share the credit for his Hall of Fame nomination. “It is a good honor,” he said. “But it means I’ve had good athletes. I didn’t win anything over the years. The kids did.
“I’ve also had a lot of good assistant coaches and good support from the community….”
Susan Marchese became a dominate figure in Nebraska amateur golf, starting with two Class B high school golf championships in 1977-78 and a runner-up in 1976. She helped Duchesne win three consecutive Class B championships. During her collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma, she was the individual runner-up in the Big Eight in 1981 while her team won the team championship. At the time of her induction, she had won 17 women’s state amateur championships and was second 12 times. She is a member of the Omaha Duchesne Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame.
Athlete. Class of 1963.
She began an illustrious track and field career long before girls’ athletic programs were accepted by the general public and/or sponsored by high schools. She was second in the shotput in the National Junior Olympics as a high school junior. She won four National Senior AAU Titles in the discus and the 1968 gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg and was member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Games teams. “Winning the Pan Am gold was obviously a highlight, she said. “It’s hard not to say that competing in the Olympics wasn’t the best moment, but unfortunately the rains came that day and I didn’t throw my best.”
Later, Carol was a teacher and coach, including serving as an assistant coach in high school football.
The Marian basketball dynasty in Omaha forged its success under the director of Jim Miller. In 34 years, Miller’s Crusaders won 619 games, qualifying for the state tournament 25 times, reaching the finals 11 times and winning state championships in 1985, 2000 and 2001. He retired in 2009 with the second-highest win total in Nebraska girls basketball history. After retiring from coaching basketball, he stayed on as the school’s golf coach, winning four straight state titles.
Athlete. As an outstanding athlete at York High School, Rita has often been referred to as the greatest female athlete around, whether it was cross-country, basketball, track, volleyball, or softball. During her sophomore year (1976-77) York won the first Class B Girls State Basketball Tournament and Rita tossed in the winning basket with 4 seconds remaining in overtime. This was the first of two state championships during her high school career. Her high school basketball career produced honors such as high school All-American, super state, all-state two years, all-conference two years and honorable mention all-state her sophomore year. In volleyball, she was named super state, all-state and all-conference. As a senior she was runner-up for female athlete of the year in Nebraska. Highly recruited in four sports she chose the University of Wyoming and basketball. She was the leading scorer and rebounder for the team and posted impressive stats in rebounds with 1,006, scoring with 1,578 points and steals with 151. Rita coached at Trumbull, Western Illinois University and Harvard. She moved to Lincoln in 1991 and in 1993 became the fifth female fire fighter in the city’s history.
Lincoln, Nebraska, firefighter Rita Makovicka died unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 22, 2001. The death of the active, healthy 39-year-old, who had been in excellent physical condition, has stunned and baffled her co-workers and friends. “None of it makes any sense,” co-worker Deb Lefferts told a local newspaper. “It just doesn’t seem real.”
Makovicka had been on the Lincoln Fire Department since 1993. She was named its Firefighter of the Year in 1999, had received two unit citations, and chaired the department’s minority recruitment committee. She had been planning to attend the WFS conference in Georgia the following month.
Raised in a small Nebraska town, one of thirteen children, Makovicka began playing basketball in high school and was on the Girls State Basketball Team in 1977 and 1979. Her local newspaper named her its “Female Athlete of the Century.” Six feet tall by her senior year in high school, and excelling in volleyball, basketball, track (hurdles, shot put, and long jump), and softball, she was offered Division I athletic scholarships in all four sports. She ultimately chose to attend the University of Wyoming on a basketball scholarship. She later became an assistant volleyball coach at Western Illinois University, and then a coach at Harvard High School, before becoming a firefighter.
Following her death, it was announced that Mackovicka had been chosen last October to be inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame this spring. The public announcement was made a few weeks early due to her death.
An autopsy was performed a few days after her death, with inconclusive results. A memorial service was held at the Firefighters Union Hall on February 26; Lincoln firefighters attended in full dress uniform. Her funeral was held the following day at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mackovicka’s home town of York.